The Miami Marlins Still Need a First Baseman for 2019
By David Levin
The Miami Marlins are still in need of a first baseman to play at the position permanently for the 2019 season. Is Peter O’Brien the team’s answer?
Miami Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill knows the organization still has to find an everyday first baseman to fill the void left when Justin Bour was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies late last season.
The question presented to Hill and the Marlins franchise is will someone on the current roster fill the slot, or will someone from the minor league system move up and capture the bag during Spring Training. Also, is there a chance the team takes a step away from its frugal thinking and makes a deal to find a bat with some power to balance a young lineup?
If the franchise sticks with its game plan, then Peter O’Brien may be the answer to filling the void. For the final month of the year, the former University of Miami star played 22 games after being called up at the beginning of September from Triple-A New Orleans.
Hill smiled when he talked about O’Brien while at Miami Jackson High School early last week.
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"“He’s a very interesting player,” Hill said. “He took full advantage of his opportunity after being called to the big leagues. In his minor league season, he hit over 30 home runs. He has tremendous power and when you think about first base and the profile of the position, power is very important.”"
Yes, power is important. It was something the 28-year-old showed when he was crushing baseballs at Double-A Jacksonville last season, which led to his promotion to the Baby Cakes. With size and power and a solid glove, there is a reason to believe O’Brien could be in the Marlins lineup on Opening Day, 2019.
O’Brien had a slash line over those 22 games of .273/.338/.530 with four home runs, five doubles, and 10 RBI. Hill stated he will be part of the process of filling the finding candidates both internally and externally.
Replacing Bour’s output in the middle of the lineup was one of the first things that sprang to mind when he was dealt. The power hitter was one of the remaining core players still on the roster from the 2017 season.
Now, catcher J.T. Realmuto appears to be the team’s power source after leading the Marlins with 21 home runs and 74 RBI in 2018.
"“He’s [O’Brien] a very interesting player,” Hill said. “He took full advantage of his opportunity after being called to the big leagues. In his minor league season, he hit over 30 home runs. He has tremendous power and when you think about first base and the profile of the position, power is very important.”"